July 25, 2011

Aaron Swartz and JSTOR [2:03 pm]

This is a peculiar bit of press on the Aaron Swartz case. Given that, from what I’ve read, Larry Lessig’s comments in the press have been very careful, it’s interesting to read this headline. Is it the NYTimes making this connection just because Aaron worked in Larry’s center, or has Larry been blogging about this/quoted about this in such a way as to suggest common cause here? Aaron Swartz’s Web Activism May Cost Him Dearly [pdf]

Like the penny opportunist, Mr. Swartz was invited to sample the wares of the nonprofit online collection Jstor, and he interpreted that invitation quite expansively. Using a program that automatically paged through each issue of more than 1,300 journals, he was able to methodically download their contents, making a copy of almost everything in the collection.

Yet this episode is hardly a joke. Mr. Swartz was arrested last week in Boston on a series of felony counts including wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer. If convicted on all counts, the Justice Department said he could face up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

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